Friday, March 12, 2021
Ignatius was born in Syria when it was a Roman province. As a young man, he put his faith in Christ and eventually became Bishop of Antioch. He and his friend Polycarp were disciples of the Apostle John, which means he was a Church leader in the generation right after the Apostles. Because of his faith in Christ, he was sentenced by the Roman authorities to die. On his way to Rome to be executed, he wrote a letter to the Roman church asking them not to try to rescue him from death. He said he was ready to give his life for the sake of the One who had died for him. He also told the believers there that the fierce wild beasts waiting for him were a blessing!
To close his letter, he said he knew what was good for him because, “finally I have started becoming a disciple to my Master…. It is better for me to die than to own kingdoms of this earth.”
In Rome, they threw him to those wild beasts, and he was martyred.
Lord Jesus Christ, you experienced persecution (John 5:16; 15:20). When you suffered, you left us an example, that we should follow in your steps (1 Peter 2:21).
Let Muslims who have come to Christ know that the troubles we encounter here are small and momentary. Yet, they achieve for us a glory beyond any comparison (2 Corinthians 4:17).
I pray for my Muslim friends who have decided to follow you. As you filled Ignatius of Antioch with faith and courage, give converts the determination to live and die for you. Help them realize that there is nothing too dear to sacrifice for you, you who gave your life to save us.
In your precious name. Amen.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:10, NIV).